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Human Composting Funeral Service: Taking the Circular Economy to the Ultimate Level

According to reporter Brendan Kiley of the Seattle Times, the first ever human composting funeral home is open for business.

CEO Katrina Spade of Recompose had a health scare and started researching burial options while she was in graduation school.

She felt that traditional embalming options were too "toxic" and that cremation released "too many emissions."

Spade dedicated her graduate thesis to how composting might facilitate human decomposition into soil. Ten years later, Recompose ( was launched.

Recompose facility in Washington state. Photo Credit: Ken Lambert, Seattle Times 2021.

According to TV station KOIN, three facilities in Washington state now offer human composting after a state law passed in 2019 allowing "Natural Organic Reduction." The law requires significant testing of microbes and soils for heavy metals, fecal coliform, Creutzfeldt-Jakob "mad cow" disease, and other pathogens.

The three facilities are Herland Forest, a nonprofit burial center, Recompose, and Return Home, which plans to open later in 2021. Competition is on the horizon and it will be fascinating to see whether this new concept flourishes for fails.

Turning into soil is the ultimate #OneGreenThing. Is this the future? Or creepy? Or both?

It's certainly time to disrupt the funeral service industry, where the average funeral costs $8,000. There's certainly much needed improvement. Recompose charges approximate $5500 for its services, a competitive price point. Customers wait 30 days to pick up soil remains or they can donate it to a local nature center.

For more background, check out Kiley's recent Seattle Times article here.


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